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Journey

Posted: 7th April 2012 22:23

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BURN ALL THE BABIES!
Posts: 3,164

Joined: 1/1/2001

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Major involvement in the Final Fantasy VI section of CoN. Participated at the forums for the CoN's 15th birthday! User has rated 500 fanarts in the CoN galleries. User has rated 300 fanarts in the CoN galleries. 
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After playing through Journey, I just wanted to write. So this is what I wrote. Spoilers sort of abound, but not really.

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The first time I see another nomad wandering in the desert wastelands of Journey, I don't know if it is another human playing the game or if it is a character being controlled by some sort of AI. There aren't enough things that a player can do in Journey to make it obvious to me if it is human or computer. But it begins following me around, using the command that fires a glowing orb in a short radius around you while making a chime. I quickly learn that this is the way players communicate in the game. This character doesn't seem too interested in following for too long and runs after something shiny in the distance. I move in a different direction, and our brief interaction comes to an end. I climb a series of carpets to the final objective of the current stage and I see this nomad off in the distance, activating other things with the communication command. I shout one last chirp in case I'm visible, attempting to say goodbye. I step into a pillar of light, view a cutscene, and move on to the next stage.

I don't encounter another nomad until I'm standing still in more sand and someone whizzes past me, using the desert landscape to slide quickly. The new nomad passes, happily chirping a few notes, and I decide to get up to speed and start sliding in the same direction. We fly through the landscape together, occasionally making conversation through the different tones. When the sliding section of the level ends, the nomad stops and waits for me, and though we can't exchange actual words, we chime back and forth several times. This is my first serious interaction with someone in the world, and though I can't confirm it, I am fairly certain it is also this player's first time in the universe and, like me, they are discovering what it means to be in a partnership in the desert. Normally, you have to collect little tokens to fly around, but if you're with someone, you can give them the ability simply by speaking to them. We do this to help each other, but also to continue talking. The world suddenly doesn't seem as intimidating.

Our alliance grows through nonverbal interaction. When we approach checkpoints with multiple things to activate, we each take half of them, somehow each understanding that this is our new custom, as it happens no matter who reaches the checkpoints first. Even though one person could easily activate all of them with a blast of noise, we wait for each other, because we have quickly become partners in this mysterious world. When an unexpected gust of wind separates us, my first instinct is to look around frantically to find my new friend. Fortunately, I see my partner first, standing still and calling out to find me. We reconvene and he chirps several tones that I interpret as relief. I share the sentiment and we continue on.

When we reach an area that previously marked the end of a level, I find myself suddenly anxious that the game won't allow us to continue on together once we switch areas. I haven't yet realized that the symbol that appears along with somebody's voice is unique to their nomad, and so I also worry that if a nomad does show up alongside me at the beginning of the next level, I'll have no way of confirming if it's the same ally who I've grown to trust so much. Before we activate the checkpoint, I chirp a few times, trying to let my partner know that I've had a good time. I get some noises in response, but there's no real way to know what I'm being told. We continue, the level fades out ... and when it reappears, I'm still with a nomad. I frantically chirp in the same pattern we've been using, and get it as a response. My friend is still with me. I'm shocked at how comforted I am to know that we're continuing on our journey together.

We continue on together through several levels, helping each other out wherever we can. Our trek takes us through some dark underground passages, but because I'm not going through it alone - despite not knowing a single thing about my friend - it's much more manageable and not as daunting. My friend is brutally attacked by some kind of robotic dragon and I quickly run over to his body, afraid that our once-invincible bodies are actually vulnerable and I might lose my partner. He staggers to his feet and we chirp at each other, astounded at the creatures that inhabit this tunnel.

We exit the underground area into a snowy region. The shining mountain that we've been working toward for our entire adventure is closer than ever. But without warning, my partner suddenly drops to his knees and stops moving. Within a few seconds, he has vanished into the snow. I don't know whether he needed to go or unexpectedly lost connection to the PlayStation Network, but in either case, I am now alone, and the area suddenly seems a lot more daunting.

I come across another nomad shortly, but I am still mourning the loss of my former partner. This new person is too chatty and doesn't seem to appreciate the sort of customs that I had with my departed friend. When I reach a set of checkpoints first, I activate only half of them and wait for this new person to arrive. When he does, he simply runs into the room, blasts some noise at all of the checkpoints, and leaves. He is an unacceptable replacement. My feelings vary wildly, simultaneously feeling annoyance and loathing of this new companion while feeling betrayed that my old friend would force me into a journey with someone whose immersion is so weak. I rush ahead of this new person, hoping that he gets sidetracked and I no longer have to deal with him. I am attacked by one of the robotic dragons, and though the current companion sees it, he doesn't seem to care. He silently moves on. We eventually reach the end of the journey, and I am only happy for myself.

The beauty of companionship in Journey lies in the fact that you can only form a meaningful partnership with someone who is playing the game the same way you are. My true partner and I were both fully immersed in the universe, communicating with each other even though we didn't know the words we were using, helping each other find secrets that the other didn't notice, and worrying when our friend was hurt. The person with whom I finished the game had no need of this and as such we never formed any sort of connection.

After the credits roll, I am delighted to see that Journey gives you a list of players that you encountered on your quest along with the symbol that they communicate with. I see my friend's PSN ID and write it down, but I am hesitant to do anything with it. Though I could find the person with whom I feel a significant bond, I worry that being able to speak to them will ruin the journey that we went through. All I really need to know is that one person out there significantly improved my experience through the world of Journey, and as such, I do nothing with the name I learned.

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Hey, put the cellphone down for a while
In the night there is something wild
Can you hear it breathing?
And hey, put the laptop down for a while
In the night there is something wild
I feel it, it's leaving me
Post #199964
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Posted: 8th April 2012 02:31

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Dude on a Walrus
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Joined: 16/10/2003

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Member of more than ten years. Major involvement in the Final Fantasy VI section of CoN. Major involvement in the Final Fantasy V section of CoN. Member of more than five years. 
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To those who haven't played Journey: Neal's detailed retelling of his Journey experience might sound exaggerated, but I assure you this is exactly the kind of feeling this game gives you. Journey is an incredible, beautiful game and is absolutely worth playing if you own a PS3.

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Post #199967
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Posted: 8th April 2012 07:41

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Black Waltz
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The things I've read about this game (Game Informer's review was fantastic) do make me wish I had a PS3 more than any single game. Absolutely beautiful.

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I fear my heart and fear my soul
Life goes on, it surely will,
Without me and I wonder:
Will I ever see light again?

Life goes on...
Post #199969
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Posted: 13th April 2012 05:26

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Disciplinary Committee Member
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Joined: 28/10/2002

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I do not have a PS3. I wish I did for this and a couple other games. I really wish I could play this one.


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"And that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana-shaped” -Sir Bedevere the Wise
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Posted: 13th April 2012 14:28

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Pretty Pretty Princess
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Quote (Fadien @ 13th April 2012 00:26)
I do not have a PS3. I wish I did for this and a couple other games. I really wish I could play this one.

I feel the same way, though I don't necessarily wish I had one. What I really wish for would be a Steam release, since that seems more likely than it ever being on XBL.

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"To create something great, you need the means to make a lot of really bad crap." - Kevin Kelly

Why aren't you shopping AmaCoN?
Post #200011
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Posted: 13th April 2012 16:01

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Lunarian
Posts: 1,211

Joined: 19/6/2009


Is this what is considered an Indie game?

It looks interesting enough.

Also:Thanks for sharing the review.

That so called speak you talk about? Its more along the lines of musical notes.
I saw a lets play,and the guy is using notes to speak to another guy who is helping him out.

Nice graphics btw.

I saw an effect of sunset reflection on water,and it looked amazing.


This post has been edited by Magitek_slayer on 13th April 2012 16:51
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Posted: 13th April 2012 16:54
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Onion Knight
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Joined: 14/6/2006

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Okay, I'm sold. I'll check it out as soon as I finish Dragon Age Origins (yeah, I'm a little behind the times).
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